Hollywood Stars and Lake Como Villas, where reality gets better than fiction.

What have in commons the sequel of Ocean’s Eleven “Ocean’s Twelve” and the last episode of the James Bond movie “Casinò Royale” with the first movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock “The Garden of Pleasure” ?? And even more: What are sharing the second episode of Star Wars “The Attack of Clones” and the masterpiece of  Luchino Visconti “Rocco & his Brothers” ?? After reading this article title, you might already know the answer.

If you rent a car and start travelling from our villa “La Dolce Vita” in Cremia following the street called Via della Regina (The Queen’s way in English) towards Menaggio, you will arrive in a small town called San Siro. If you stop there and ask for Villa “La Gaeta“, you will certanly recognise the location of the last scene of James Bond movie “Casino Royale” starring Daniel Craig, where James Bond shoots the leg of Mr.White, the evil enemy of that episode.
Then, move down towards Lenno and stopping in front of Villa Del Balbianello, you will arrive directly on the set of  “Star Wars: The Attack Of Clones” where princess Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakyn Skywalker (Hayden Cristensen) have their secret marriage. Always here, in Lenno, is where Dino Risi filmed Alberto Sordi and Aldo Fabrizi’s speech in the famous movie “Una Vita Difficile” (A difficult life); “un piccolo capolavoro” a small masterpiece of the “Commedia All’Italiana” (Italian Comedy) genre.
Following the Via Della Regina toward Como you will encounter the small village of Laglio where George Clooney is used to spend his free time far away from media’s attentions in his villa called “Villa Oleandra“.

Jump in the car again and move to Cernobbio, the last village before Como. Here is located “Villa Erba”, the place where the famous thief  Night Fox (played by Vincent Cassel) challenges Ocean (George Clooney) in the movie “Ocean’s Twelve” the famous thiefs story starring George Clooney , Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Villa Erba was the holiday house of  the italian director Luchino Visconti (The Leopard, Rocco And His Brothers, Death In Venice) who was used to spend the summer with his family and friends.  Always in Cernobbio, at the luxury hotel resort “Villa D’Este”  was also filmed “The Other Man”, starring Antonio Banderas and Liam Neeson, a story about an extramarital relationship between Liam Neeson’s wife, played by Laura Linney, and her colleague Antonio Banderas.

What makes this place attractive for film directors is also the birth of the Lombardia Film Commission, a non profit organization which provides assistance to all directors and filmmakers that want to face-off all the bureaucracy paperworks.
If you will book your holiday on July probably you will have the opportunity to participate to the newborn film film festival in Como named “Lake Como Film Festival”, a cinematographic exposition that wants to celebrate the artistic vocation of the lake. Three are the categories that compose the festival program ( Classic movies, new movies and documentaries). To help tourists finding the place of the movies set, the Chamber of Commerce of Como have create a short guide with the itinerary to follow if you want to visit all the place named before (Le Stelle del Lago, link below http://www.italiantouristoffice.se/sv/docs/1830.pdf)

The reason why Lake Como is so well known in Hollywood, should be researched on his unique landscapes that have inspired directors and attracted actors from all over the world throughout the years (even the Lumière’s brothers, the ones who have invented cinema, filmed some picture shows on the lake shores, in 1897).
Several famous actors are linked to this unique place, such as Kirk Douglas, Donald Sutherland, Gene Kelly, Clark Gable, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper, Bette Davis, Glenn Ford and many others probably because, as singer Robin Williams once said “When you look at the sky over Lake Como, it ‘s clear that god exists”.

Top 5 local foods to eat at Lake Como

All world knows the obsessions we Italians have for good food, especially to their own traditional one. Also those who never visited Italy are aware of it thanks to many italian restaurants that have spread around the world several dishes of the “Bel Paese”.However when you are visiting Italy, what cannot elude your attention is that in each different region (we have 21) you will find some typical food, often very different from each others because deeply connected to the peculiar history and cultural legacy of each region. These unique culinary “treasures” are almost impossible to find around the world and you can truly experience them only where they were invented and preserved until now.

Risotto with persico fish

Here, especially for Villa Dolce Vita guests, we have chosen 5 typical meals that we recommend to try while you are visiting the region of Lake Como, especially when you’re sitting in the commons Trattorie or Grotti (Caverns in english) around the lakeside.

 The most typical plate of the Lario (the ancient latin name of Lake Como) is the “Risotto con filetti di pesce persico”, a special typeof rice that gets creamy with cooking and mixed with fillets of Persic fish from our Lake, normally should be served with fruity white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay).

 

Missultin with Polenta

The second most famous dish, so popular that even became a brand for local apparels, are “Missultin” (in italian Agoni) that are fished in the lake from may to june, dehydrated with salt and exposed under the sun for few days. After following this process they are stashed inside a wood box called “Missolta” (here the name Missultin) with laurel leafs and they can be conserved for a long time. They are normally served with a slice of polenta (a common dish in North of Italy, made with mais flour).

 

 

 

Polenta Uncia

Another must-eat dish is a type of  polenta that is very common in the valleys around Lake Como, called “Polenta Uncia”   which is a polenta cooked with tasty local cheeses (tons of), butter (check your colhesterol afterwards), garlic (forget kissing afterwards) and sage (the only vegan ingredient in it).  Polenta Uncia cannot disappoint but you will need to run all along the lake to burn out a portion.

 

Resca di Como

Since “Dolce Vita” means “Sweet Life” we have to mention the typical “Dolce” to eat during Easter time which is “Resca”, a sweet bread prepared with candied fruit and with inside a twig of olive tree as symbol of peace and luck for the future. You can also ask to have it during the rest of the year, however it will be evident that you are not a local.

Last but not least, next meal we would like to introduce you are Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, originally coming from the Valtellina Valley, which begins at around 20 minutes driving from Villa “La Dolce Vita” and goes up until Bormio and Livigno, two of the major ski resorts in Lombardy. Pizzoccheri is a type of pasta, similar to “tagliatelle”, made with buckwheat flour and boiled together with chopped potatoes, savoy cabbage and spiced with molten cheese (normally the Valtellina Casera cheese) and butter.

Valtellina Pizzoccheri

In the past these meals were eaten by local farmers and shepherds, living the mountains that are surrounding Lake Como. For this reason they are high caloric, furthermore they were prepared with ingredients easy to find around the local markets of the lake. Nowadays, we inherited them and they became proud members within the historical heritage of italian cuisine.